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Thousands of oxygen-dependent old persons are facing forcible execution from Air
Liquide Vitalaire, the Romanian subsidiary of the worldwide leading producer of home
oxygen supply equipment. An inside person revealed several counterfeited invoices to
the newspaper. The representatives of the company state they are in shock and that
they will double check
Monday, November 21, 2016, 07:03 AM

I want to show you how Vitalaire misleads patients and evades taxes!
On which grounds do you say that?
I am the one who forged the documents!
A co-ordinator who left Vitalaire and has decided to speak up

The rep office in Romania of the French corporation has the headquarters in Iai.

It undergoes contracts with all the 42 County Health Insurance Houses.

According to the inside confessions, the company targets the most vulnerable sick
persons in order to forcibly execute them by court order: it has almost 3,000 lawsuits
against the clients-patients!

Despite the endless complaints from the people, none of the health authorities
listened to the patients!

The company claims that the ones from the Health Insurance House are fully
responsible for this huge number of lawsuits.

The newspaper holds the documents proving the double taxation undergone by Vitalaire
and starts today their publication.


Investigation undergone by MirelaNeag, RzvanLuac, CtlinTolontan and Raed

Krishan (photo)

Vitalaire made us pay 2,300 lei for a few hundreds lei debt!
How did you end up renting medical equipment from Vitalaire?
My father, a professional tractor driver, had a heart condition and respiratory distress.
He had to use an oxygen concentrator. Vitalaire had lent it to us. And then they sued us.
What did you do?
What could we do? We paid! They are mobsters!
How is your father feeling now?
I hope that he is better than here. He is dead.
This is one of the thousands of voices the Romanian State did not want to hear.
The man is called ViorelGrigore and he is the son of AnghelCiufu, fromLehliuGar,
Clrai county.
Ciufu used a Vitalaire equipment during 2013-2014.
He passed away at 61.


SC Air Liquide VitalaireRomnia SRL, as the full name of the company goes, is well known in
the medical world.
But it is almost unheard of in the public space.
And this is because, although numerous patients had been making complaints for years to the
medical authorities and to the National Authority for Consumer Protection, they were ignored.
This is how the business remained under the radar.
They sell or lease home oxygen supply equipment for patients with asthma, cancer, silicosis,
severe lung diseases, apnea. We target diseased people with very severe conditions. For our
clients, the oxygen is irreplaceable. The life expectancy has dropped to only a few months now,
but this is due to the Health Insurance House, says Lucian Bentu, the general manager of the
company, during a long talk with the Gazeta journalists.
Their headquarters is in Iai and they have contracts with all the county health insurance
We have deals with 42 county health insurance houses. And you may quote: yes, we
sue the patients in debt, but due to the ones from the health insurance authority!, says
the companys lawyer DragoBobu, who is accompanying manager Bentu at the interview .


Vitalaire is the Romanian subsidiary of the Air Liquide group, the worldwide leader in the supply
of gases for industry, health and environment.

The planiglobe seen by Air Liquide Vitalaire

The corporation based in France got around the world sales figures amounting to 16.4 billion
euros in 2015, which equals 10% of the Romanian Gross Domestic Product!

countries are on the map of Air
Liquide Vitalaire global business
The majority of the Air Liquide business is in industry, yet the health equipment supply, grouped
under the Vitalaire brand, is rapidly expanding.
We do not appear that often in the media. It is the first time I give an interview, says
manager Bentu.
The inside people say that anonymity has its cold-blood estimated purpose.

We, the Air Liquide Vitalaire representative office in Romania, have silently transformed
ourselves in a business based on the forcible execution of the poor, unknowing and
most of the times dieing people!
Former co-ordinator at Vitalaire, source of Gazeta
After having worked for a long time alongside the others at co-ordinating what he calls a
system of deceiving defenseless people by forging documents, an important employee of
Vitalaire decides to break the silence.
The man left the company after years of holding key positions and being granted extensive
access to internal information.
He says that the medical equipment is very good but the business is based on the forcible
execution of thousands of defenseless people.


Why do you say that Vitalaire is based on the court forcible execution of the diseased
Because this is what we were told to do! Although by contracts we committed ourselves to
send the patients the invoices on a monthly basis, we were trained not to warn them, precisely
for sick people to gather debts. It was only then we would sue them.
Why only then?
Because during the years of delay the penalties are piling up.
How big are they?
The penalties amount to almost 40% per year!
But do the sick people complain?
Very few. Most of them go along with the situation. Just think about it, we are talking about
seriously diseased people, with a precarious financial situation. Suffering people who can no
longer walk, who lack access to information, who did not have problems with the law in their
entire life and who get scared.
How many lawsuits are we talking about?
I do not know, we lacked this information, only the chiefs had it, but there are more than
anyone could imagine.


Gazeta has centralized, using the termene.ro online portal, the lawsuits filed by Vitalaire.
The newspaper has then checked a significant number of lawsuits directly on the justice
department portals and by one-to-one dialogue with the sick.
Or with their descendants.
Because both the source and the manager of the company are right when saying that many
of the Vitalaire clients are desperate cases.
There is an endless list of people who passed away within a few months or at the most one year
or two after signing the contract. Now, according to the heads of the company, the life
expectancy has been decreased, because the ones from the National Health Insurance
Authority reimburse the oxygen only for the patients who are in stage 4 of certain diseases.
Then, for the next step, we confronted the number of lawsuits with the companys
representatives, as it resulted from public sources. They confirmed it!
We have almost 3,000 lawsuits, said the two officials interviewed yesterday by gsp.
The court procedures against the clients-patients are undergone through the law firm in Iai held
by DragoBobu, the friend of general manager Lucian Bentu.
It is an unprecedented situation in the healthcare field in Romania: for a company to sue almost
3,000 patients!
Yes, we asked around and we were not able to find another similar figure to the one we had at
Vitalaire, but there are explanations, says Bobu.


Since 2010 up to date, Vitalaire have filed the sick an average of two lawsuits per day!
Two cases each working day, unceasingly, for 6 years!

We have raised a figure of almost 3,000 lawsuits since 2010 until now. The ones from
the county health insurance houses told us that this is happening because some choose
to make concessions while we fight for our money
Drago Bobu, the lawyer of SC Air Liquide Vitalaire Romnia

The diseased persons come from all over the country, but especially from secluded communes
and villages.

lawsuits were filed by Vitalaire against their
own patients during September 2010
November 2016, according to the data
discovered by gsp
The newspaper discussed with tens of these persons or with their husbands, wives, children,
grandchildren and relatives.
Many patients died.
But before they died almost all of them had paid.
And the state knows all about it!


According to the discussions between Gazeta Sporturilor and several county health insurance
houses, many people complained about the trouble Vitalaire is putting them through.
Furthermore, the Customer Protection Office has received tons of notifications.
The company itself admits to be the target of many complaints from the people.
Yet the business went on, unabated.
Why? Because the ones being executed are voiceless people in the Romanian society.
Through the painful alchemy of chance inequity, not even their children or grandchildren have
enough power to make themselves heard.
The company requests one or two guarantors for each contract. Even they are younger, the
guarantors of the suffering are generally people without substantial financial means as
Thousands of powerless sick persons and thousands of relatives terrorized only by the idea of a

lawsuit have paid, year after year, penalties of even up to ten times the owed amount!
Gazeta holds numerous documented cases and will publish them.

The most shocking thing in this whole Vitalaire story is that in many of these lawsuits
the company submitted forged evidence!, says the former employee of the company.
The inside man throws the invoices on the table!

The first invoice has the normal value from the contract, of 130 lei

In the second invoice the amount is 0.01 lei, which is registered in the accounting system
This is how they look, put side by side the double invoices used by us in the Vitalaire
accounting system, the man says flattening the invoices with his hand.
The documents are issued on the same name!
They authorize the lease of an oxygen device used in the apnea treatment.
Apnea is a serious condition, because of which the diseased person can die during sleep if not
using an oxygen supply device.
This kind of equipment is not reimbursed by the Health Insurance House and therefore is paid
from the pocket of the patient.

The documents carry the same identification code: series IS2008 and no. 1046.
They are issued on the same name: Rada Victor Petre.

3 seconds
passed between the issue of the
invoice with series IS2008 and
no. 1,046 amounting to 130 lei
and the invoice amounting to
0.01 lei

At the same date: April 30, 2010.

The only difference is that one is issued at 11:10:49 PM.
The second at 11:10:52 PM.
And they have different values!
Other invoices I am passing over to you carry as simple as that identical series, name, amount,
time. Because they were issued in a Word document!, states the former employee of the
Any accountant knows how this is called. It is document forgery and tax evasion!, points up the
The first invoice has the normal value from the contract, of 130 lei, while the second has the
amount of 0.01 lei, to be registered in the accounting system.


Why the invoice with the value of 0.01 lei was registered in the accounting system?
So that the French shareholders would assume this amount was never to be recovered.
When does the double invoicing of a patient begin?
When he/she does not pay. From that month on, the patient is monthly registered in the
accounting system with the amount of 0.01 lei. But the client was unaware of that! The double

invoice, the one with 130 lei per month, was kept in a separate company record, not registered
at the Fiscal Authority! After months or sometimes even after years in a row, the sick person
was being sued and in court we would go with the invoices worth 130 lei, although they were not
legally registered.
What does the company win from this risky affair?
Eventually, the company is to cash much more than the amount stipulated by the contract.
But the real earning goes to the head of the company: general manager Lucian Bentu. He
together with his friend, lawyerDragoBobu, are the ones cashing the big money. As from the
recovered money, including penalties, a big part is kept by lawyer Bobu as fee for legal
services. It represents at the same time a way to trick the patients, as well as the French
shareholders of the company.
Does this mean that the invoices presented in court were forged? Did we understand
correctly? Did Vitalaire win lawsuits based on forged documents?!
Yes, we submitted forged evidence during lawsuits. Especially during the ones regarding
equipment that was not being reimbursed by the Health Insurance House.
And what if now, after the double invoices become public, they run at the headquarters and
erase from the accounting system the ones worth 0.01 lei?
(The source smiles) Rest reassured, I have back-ups from the accounting data base of the
(And, after a simple evaluation, there is another thing: the yearly financial reports are already
submitted. The total values registered in the accounting system can no longer be modified).
It is hard to imagine that no one from Paris figured this out by now! Were they not
intrigued they had thousands of lawsuits undergoing in Romania?!
To be honest, at some point I had the impression they were on to something. A German
manager made an impromptu visit to Romania. But I do not know exactly what they discussed.
As you can see, I am not rambling. I speak only about what I know. As to what I do not know, I
do not improvise.


Official discussion in a Bucharest hotel with the two men who, according to the testimonies, run
Vitalaire: general manager Lucian Bentu, who is also a businessman in Tecuci and the lawyer
from Iasi DragoBobu.
We show them the double invoices.
Lawyer Bobu, a fair youngman with a modern look, sinks in his armchair and in his thoughts.

General manager Bentu is the one who answers.

He is also not 40 yet, he looks and speaks well.
How can you explain an invoice with the same series and the same number and two
different values?
Oh, well, I will explain in a bit! That is the way we issue the invoices. For the Health
Insurance House we invoice with a high value while for the patients we issue low-value invoices.
This is the way we are invoicing at the moment as well, there is no problem about it.
One second! What you are holding in your hand right now are two invoices for an
apnea device, non-reimbursable by the Health Insurance House.
Really. And there is one more thing that does not add up. Even if you invoice two
different values, how can the invoices have the same number and series?
(The manager feels the two invoices with the tips of his fingers. The lawyer seems gone far
away, in his own torments) I cannot find a reasonable explanation! It is really disagreeable
indeed what I see here. If true, and I say if, then it is probably an isolated case. Honestly, we will
further look into the matter ourselves.


(We take out two more invoices. For another patient, doubled as well) We have more, you
Do you think these are papers from our company?
You should tell this to the public, please!
It is obvious that you have this information from the company. But it is, how should I put it,
rather mean. I have been working since 2006 in this company when I used to sell the equipment
by myself! Where did you get all this information from?
You are well aware that we could never disclose that. You will be able to note that we
have the testimonies of many persons. We hold the documents from inside but we do not
credit any side of the story. That is why we show them to you, to tell the people the truth
about them!
I really cannot figure this out. But thank you for sharing them with us as we will try to find out
what this is all about.

(The lawyer steps in, red-faced and transfigured) I want to tell you something! If what you are
showing us is true, it means that we assumingly forwarded forged documents in court?
Yes, this is what it means. But this happened before.
What are you talking about?!!!
From our information, there are lawsuits that you lost because forged signatures were
found on the documents. The patients were not the ones to have signed them, but
someone else on their behalf. Probably from the company.
It is true. When the graphological expertise was made we lost. But these cases are very rare.
Only a few! And we immediately changed the procedures within the company, in the sense that
we asked the patient to write his/her name on the contract and only afterwards to sign. Even up
to the present I believe that we, Vitalaire, were the ones who were tricked in these cases!
By whom?
The patient or his/her representative tricked us.
We look forward to receiving an answer for the double invoices during the days to come.
Nevertheless, beyond them, this number of thousands of lawsuits filed towards the patients
seems normal to you?
(Now they take turns in talking, completing each other, the general manager and the lawyer)
We would like to say something. You should know that the huge number of lawsuits in which we
called the patients is generated by the fact that the system conceived by the Health Insurance
House is not designed to protect the patient! The system does not support the patients benefit.
I am truly shocked by what you show me. The number of lawsuits is the most severe problem
of the company, but it is out of the question for me to have ever forced the people to generate
lawsuits or to register forged invoices and to take them to court
Lucian Bentu, general manager of Vitalaire
The discussion with the two Vitalaire officials goes on for two hours and a half.
During the next issues they have more to add.

Visible tension of the companys heads after the dialogue with the journalists from Gazeta.
Manager Lucian Bentu lights up a cigarette. The lawyer from Iasi DragoBobu remains standing
up, with a petrified look on his face. Two hours from the end of the yesterday interview, at
almost 11 oclock in the evening, they were still walking in the yard of the Bucharest hotel where
they were accommodated. Photo by: Raed Krishan.


The first forged invoices we showed to the management of the corporation are issued on the
name of Victor Petre Rada in April 2010.
On the grounds of the forged invoice the man was forcibly executed by SC Air Liquide Vitalaire
Romnia SRL.
For 6 years, as many other suffering persons, the man has not known anything about it.
He is alive and we found him.
The follow-up in the tomorrow newspaper.



Only death at 47 saved Dumitra Opinc from a lawsuit, although the Health Insurance House in
Valcea County had paid Vitalaire all the money for the oxygen supply equipment!
Tuesday, November 22, 2016, 6:57 AM

The question coming from anyone reading my testimony is normal: why

am I speaking up only now? Because these people have special power and
entourage. Does the Corduneni Clan from Iai say anything to you?!
- Former Vitalaire employee, source of the newspaper

Almost two days after the newspaper confronted the heads of the company with the
double counting records, Vitalaire continues to be unable to explain the documents.

The Public Prosecutors Office assigned to the Tribunal of Iai opened yesterday a tax
evasion file.

The newspaper publishes today three new sets of double invoices issued by the medical
equipment company in the case of a woman from a small village in Valcea.

After being compared, the inside papers of the corporation and the ones supplied by the
Health Insurance show how money came from both sides.

Vitalaire would receive reimbursements from the Health Insurance House and charged
their patients as well.

Should they fail to pay, the patients are charged in court with penalties of 73% per

How do the good friends and colleagues, manager Lucian Bentu and lawyer Drago
Bobu, react when being asked what is going on.

Investigation undergone by Mirela Neag, Rzvan Luac and Ctlin Tolontan

At least their names should be written down boldly.

Dumitra Niculina Opinc was born on August 12, 1963 and died early, on May 20, 2010.
She lived in the Valea Cheii village, Pueti-Mglai commune, Vlcea county.
As in fairy tales, the spirit of the woman departed at 47 has continued to haunt the
Romanian courts for a year and a half, summoned by the Vitalaire company.
The story went on until, at the dawn of October 17, 2011, the Iai County Court put an
end to the vampire movies.
The court informed the medical equipment company that they would reject the forcible
execution request.
The judges declared the lack of trial involvement capacity of the defendant.
That morning, the Romanian state admitted that Vitalaire has nothing left to benefit from


The legal shadow lingers on earth long after the last heartbeat.
And Dumitra Opinc left carrying on her shoulders the bitter quality of defendant, which
continued to wander around this place.
That is why, in karmic version, she is accountable for debts worth 1,018 lei, taking into
account only the Vitalaire share, without adding up the stamp duty.
Taking into account the distance tearing apart the realms Dumitra and us belong to
today, stamp duty taxes are high and rather difficult to pay.
So good that you managed to break free!
Yet an evaluation with all the documents in hand shows that calculations are exactly
backwards: SC Air Liquide Vitalaire Romnia SRL, the subsidiary of the megacorporation with the same name, owes money to Dumitra Niculina Opinc.
And apologies!



million lei is the turnover of

Vitalaire Romnia in 2015

million lei is the net profit of

VitalAire Romnia in 2015

The woman from Valea Cheii was sued by the undersigned Vitalaire, legally
represented by Hans-Georg Oestermann and Pierre-Emmanuel Augustin,
administrators, through the Drago Bobu Law Office .
At least their names should be written down boldly!

Lucian Bentu (manager first line), Drago Bobu (lawyer) and a group of colleagues from
Vitalaire. Photo: Bentu Facebook page


The lawsuit of Dumitra from Valea Cheii is one of the almost 3,000 the company admits having
filed against the patients in debt.
Dialogue with Lucian Bentu, general manager of SC Air Liquide Vitalaire Romnia SRL and with
lawyer Drago Bobu, his good friend and co-operator.
Are your bosses in Paris aware of the huge number of lawsuits in Romania?
Yes, of course they are. But what shall we do? We always explain in Paris what everything is
And arent they concerned? A pharma multinational corporation looks like it has turned
into a group of money recovery agents.
(Lawyer Drago Bobu is about to interfere in the discussion)

Are you, Mr. Bobu, an employee of the company?

Are you the lawyer of the company?
Yes, I am. But today I speak not as a lawyer but as a member of the Vitalaire Board.
Isnt that a conflict of interests?
What conflict?

To be a member of the Board and also

to earn money through your law office,
Drago Bobu, from the lawsuits the
company files.
I do not think that there is any conflict. I do
much more for the company than
representing it during trials.

of the lawsuits filed against the patients
are won by Vitalaire, according to the
estimations of lawyer Bobu

Dont you receive a variable amount according to how many trials you take part in?
I receive a fixed monthly fee. I have expenses, I have three persons employed only for the
Vitalaire lawsuits.

All this damn situation going on with the lawsuits is to blame on the Health
Insurance Houses. And the patients do not pay
- Drago Bobu, Vitalaire lawyer
And VitalAire is not responsible for anything?
(Manager Bentu takes over the answer)
Many patients do not understand very well the system and put the blame on us. I consider that
we are taking all the necessary steps to keep this situation under control.


The lawsuit starts on March 28, 2011, almost one year after Dumitra had passed away in her
In court the company submits invoices that show the defendant had not paid, for 8 months, the
monthly 60 lei.
In total about 480 lei.
The Vitalaire claims are doubled by penalties and interest: they ask for 1,018 lei!

are the daily penalties
stipulated in the contracts the
company signs with its
medically oxygen dependant

Penalties of

73% per year

in a contract like the one

between Vitalaire and Dumitra

Gazeta Sporturilor is now in the possession of the inside file of the Dumitra Niculina Opinc
A source from the company provided the newspaper with the client summary and three sets of
double invoices


As in the case you wrote about yesterday in the newspaper, the company used to issue two
identical invoices. It would record in the accounting system the invoices worth 0.01 lei and
would keep the fake ones, with the amount of 60 lei. The latter were submitted during the
Opinc trial, explains the inside man from Vitalaire.
We publish three sets of double invoices, with the same series and number, but with different
sums of money, issued on the name of Dumitra Opinc.
During the trial, the people from Vitalaire submitted the 60 lei invoices, according to the
notification sent by administrators Georg Oestermann and Pierre-Emmanuel Augustin, through
Drago Bobu Law Office.
At least we should know their names.


But there is no person identical to another, no suffering that feels like another and in the
Dumitra Niculina Opinc case, no invoice like another.
Besides the alterations in its own accounting system, Vitalaire was also reimbursed by the
Health Insurance House.
Gazeta Sporturilor requested and received from the Vlcea County Health Insurance House the
amounts paid from public money to Vitalaire based on the decisions issued towards the insured
Dumitra Niculina Opinc.

The data collected by CAS Vlcea showing that the company received the money, unceasingly,
for Dumitra Opinc

The information supplied to the newspaper from the national public health system shows how
from October 12, 2009 and up to the day of her death, May 20, 2010, Dumitra paid to Vitalaire
through the Health Insurance House 159.52 lei per month.
In total, she had unknowingly paid 1,276 lei.
Dumitra Opinc completely overpaid her debt!
Because the Health Insurance House money actually belong to her and to all the people
on the list of the 3,000 trials.
It is not the House that pays, the people are!

According to these data, Vitalaire had three types of fees and reports:
1. Towards the shareholders and the Fiscal Authority: 0.01 lei per month.
2. Towards the patient and the court: 60 lei per month.
3. Towards the Health Insurance House: 159.52 lei per month.
The problem was not that we gathered 159 lei from the Health Insurance House and 60
lei from the patient, if this is how the contract was conceived, but what we told the
patient in the beginning and the fact that he/she was made accountable for a debt for
which from an accounting point of view he/she wasnt!, explains the source.
In the case of Dumitra Opinc it is strange how she managed to provide all the necessary
documents, to obtain the decision for the Health Insurance House to unceasingly reimburse the
contract with Vitalaire, to send the decision to Iai, yet she failed to pay all her personal monthly
The reimbursement system is indeed faultily designed by the state.
It is a nightmare for the seriously diseased people who need additional oxygen supply to pay
monthly visits to the doctors office, to run a spirometry test every time, to take the decision to
the Health Insurance House, to receive it by mail and to resend it to the supplier.
The system itself encourages taking shortcuts.
Realistically speaking, it is difficult for a supplier to input the decision in the centralised system
within 72 hours, as this is the term. It is precisely for this reason, that I saw several times at
Vitalaire the decision being signed on behalf of the sick person. The decision was sent

directly from the company to the Health Insurance House, recalls another former
Yet again, if you open that door, how do you prevent your employees to make up contracts with
persons whose personal and medical data may be acquired rather easily from the doctors?


Although they had planned a trip to France, for a training at the mother company as we are
about to sell insulin pumps in Romania, the two friends running the company, manager Bentu
and lawyer Bobu, changed their minds.
They gave up boarding the plane when they were on;y a few hundreds of meters away from the
Otopeni airport.


The Prosecutors Office assigned to the Tribunal in Iai opened a criminal file for fiscal evasion.
Regarding Drago Bobu, as a lawyer he might be investigated by DNA (National Anticorruption
Directorate), states a legal source.
And the employees of the company, state inside sources, have already begun to make
plans to discuss with the prosecutors, following the principle that is never put in practice
enough: the one who talks gets an extra chance.
Dumitra Opinc got into her grave knowing that she is in debt.
After being asked yesterday to explain the new set of double invoices and the case of the
reimbursement both from the patient and from the Health Insurance House, general manager
Lucian Bentu replied.
He replied as follows: I requested the entitled departments within the company a report
regarding the situations you presented.
Drago Bobu restricted his facebook profile, in order to protect his name.

The car of Lucian Bentu, which he drove to Otopeni, photographed here on his facebook
account. It has a special registration number, B888BBB.


Talking about the name.
Dialogue with the Mayor House in Pueti-Mglai, where the woman lived.
Good afternoon, do you happen to know how we can reach an inheritor of Dumitra
Niculina Opinc? She was from Valea Cheii. She died in 2010, in spring.
We do not have any Opinc around here. We will search some more and double check but we
are sure that she is not from our area.
The next day. It snows all over the country, from Vlcea to Iai.
Good afternoon, we are calling back regarding Dumitra Opinc.
We are sorry, we searched everywhere. In the papers, even in the agricultural register. Even

on the voting lists. We never had any Dumitra Opinc. Yet one idea crossed our mind while
searching. Here, precisely in Valea Cheii, there was an asylum for disadvantaged people, that
was evacuated a while ago! Maybe she was from there?
When it is meant for you to vanish in the cold of winter, you get lost completely, with minimum
rehabilitation chances.
At least we should write down her name boldly.
Dumitra Niculina Opinc, honest person.



The new management of the Health Insurance House in Bucharest admits that although there
had been complaints from the people, the inspections in 2011 and 2013 did not find any fault at
Air Liquide Vitalaire
Tuesday, November 22, 2016, 2:06 AM

Investigation undergone by Mirela Neag, Rzvan Luac and Ctlin Tolontan

The Health Insurance House in Bucharest started yesterday an inspection of the
commercial office of Vitalaire in the capital, says Lucian Bara, president of CASMB.
The president has been leading the institution for one year.

Several high officials of the institution took part in the todays discussion.
The manager confirms that after being asked by the newspaper, we checked if there are
complaints and notifications from patients regarding Vitalaire. Yes, there are.
And we discovered that there are a lot compared to what we usually receive, further adds
Ovidiu Munteanu, head of contract relations department.
Munteanu has also joined CASMB for one year, from the investigation authority of the National
House and he is very firm when it comes to inspections, says someone from the system.
And why havent you done anything by now?!.
This is a tough question.
Let us explain and you will be able to weigh how much we did, they answer.
For the moment, complaints from 2015 and 2016 were taken out from the archives.
11 complaints about Air Liquide Vitalaire were discovered.
And are they a lot, 11 complaints?
We are only the Health Insurance House in Bucharest. There are 42 houses around the
country. For us, 11 complaints since last autumn are a lot compared to how many complaints
we receive in general.
What do you compare to?
With the number of complaints we receive in the case of the 85 suppliers of medical equipment.
Here we enclose also orthosis and prosthesis devices where there are more patients than for
the oxygen equipment. Vitalaire is a special case regarding the number of complaints, that is
what we have just found out!
Just found out. Of course it is frustrating, but you need to listen to the parties in order to try to
Because it is equally true that only 3 persons are in charge for Bucharest for all the
reimbursement requests that are coming from the 2,300 supplying companies working with the
2,700 lei is the maximum wage that can be reached
And that people are underpaid as the entry wage amounts to 900 lei.

The managers say that people who came to CASMB asked in written if their coupons
were reimbursed, meaning if Vitalaire cashed in their cases the amounts from CAS. Now
that we read the newspapers disclosure, we understand why the insured persons were asking
us this: probably they were suspicious the company said we had not paid and they wanted to
double check, explains president Lucian Bara.
And what was the actual situation?
In some cases we had paid, in others we
The diseased persons were asking for
something more: a copy of the decision.
Because most probably the insured
persons who were sued wanted to prove the
court the House had paid.
The ones being interviewed deny any
possibility for a medical equipment
company, in this case Vitalaire, to be able to
cash money from both parts.

decisions for oxygen concentrators are
issued each quarter of the year by the
Health Insurance House in Bucharest.
According to the Vitalaire evaluations,
the company has a market share of
almost 50%

This is related to what Gazeta Sporturilor revealed in the todays issue. The newspaper
presented documents from the inside of the multinational company, from court and from the
Health Insurance House in Vlcea which show without a doubt that Air Liquide Vitalaire double
charged a seriously ill patient!
And this is only one of the cases documented by the newspaper.
Vitalaire was never entitled to take money both from patients and from the House. Copayment for the oxygen equipment is illegal!, states Ovidiu Munteanu, the head of
contractual relations. Mihaela Tnase, from his department, supports his statement.
Are you sure that neither in 2010 nor in any other year was the company able to cash
both from the patient and from the House?
Absolutely sure! This is the law. No matter how it was modified, it clearly stated that taxes
cannot be applied both for the insured person and the House.
Does this refer only to the oxygen concentrators?
For any medical device, be it prosthesis or oxygen concentrator, or anything else, it is illegal to
do that as a supplier.
But maybe they camouflaged the payment under another service?
The law strictly forbids to conceal the payment!

Which were the last inspections run by CASMB at Vitalaire?

In 2011 and 2013.
The result?
No irregularities were found.
And how does this sound to you now?
Do you want us to tell you what we found a year ago when we came here?
If this answers the above question.
A year ago myself as a president went to our headquarters in i eica and I saw that we were
located in the same building with Vitalaire.
Come again, please!
You heard correctly.
Vitalaire has the office in the building where the CASMB office was located where people came
to take their decisions for the oxygen concentrators. This is the truth!
- Lucian Bara, president of the Health Insurance House in Bucharest
Maybe it is a large office building.
It is not that large! There was us and other three companies. We were located at different floors
yet I did not see as normal what was going on. I was explained that Vitalaire came after us but
this was of no interest for me! I went to the owner of the building, asked him whether he could
do anything about it, he said no and I moved that CASMB office for medical equipment to a
different location. CASMB is still in the same building with Vitalaire Bucure ti, but I moved what
was odd for me to co-exist.
And now what are you going to do?
We started an inspection at Vitalaire. We have our means.
Meaning you inspect your neighbors?
I explained what we found and what we did.
As long as the office of the House for medical equipment was in the same building, things would
go like this.
At the entrance in the building the ones from Vitalaire had positioned one of their urns,
basic cardboard ones, where people would place their coupons so that they would not
have to send them by mail, recalls someone working for a long time for CASMB.
This is an alteration of the games rules as normally the House provides the patients with a list
of certified suppliers for the patient to choose. What to choose when they were right there, with
their urn?.

And what was the first thing they saw yesterday when they went for inspection?
Vitalaire was erasing their logo from the door.
Like Lucian Bentu, general manager of the corporation, who erased hisPage | 3 Facebook



In a reply sent to the newspaper, manager Bentu mentions that "justice will do their job for the
one who forged the documents, I am innocent and I am waiting for the decisions of my
superiors". The superiors from Paris keep quiet. But who are the ones suffering?
A man turns up
with a stinking rucksack on his back.
Who are those tiny, puny creatures
behind the sofa?
They are my parents
who managed to live
through World War I
and World War II
but they may not make it now.
Mircea Dinescu, DEMOCRAIA NATURII, 1981

The third day of journalistic investigation, yet no reaction from the headquarters in Paris of
the multinational company Air Liquide Vitalaire.

The corporation supplying oxygen for 50% of the seriously ill patients in Romania has
generated a criminal file and an investigation initiated by the Health Insurance House in

After being confronted with the documents published by Gazeta, the Health Insurance
House admitted yesterday they have the headquarters in the same building as
Vitalaire Bucure ti, but also admitted that it is illegal to take money both from the
patient and from the Health Insurance House!.

The story of the victims exposes the dimensions of the phenomenon: the doctors
recommend Vitalaire to the patients.

And afterwards, when they are forcibly executed by the company, the old people
borrow money, the grandchildren put their savings together and the relatives provide
as guarantee their own pension certificates.

The unveiling of the complicity chain goes on.

#mergem dup sistem (we chase the system)

Investigation undergone by Mirela Neag, Rzvan Luac and Ctlin Tolontan

Filofteia Bncil is 78.
Eufrosina Diaconescu is 76.
Vasilichia Nicodim was 80.
When she died.
Filofteia, Eufrosina, Vasilichia.
Their interbellum names seem to have slipped from the pages of a novel written by Cella
Serghi, but now we live in Air Liquide Vitalaire times.
Other sonorities are in fashion.


The seriously ill women are sued for reasons beyond their comprehension and for that matter
very scary.
When the man carrying the oxygen tank arrives he says it wont cost you anything, everything
wil be reimbursed by the Health Insurance House.
After a while they realize they have to pay amounts that exceed their pensions.
And in order to get away, from what they are not very sure, but just to get away, they pay!
More precisely the ones paying are the children and the grandchildren, who lie to them and hid
the actual forcible execution orders, as you lie you paid less for something in order not to upset
the person in front of you.


Filofteia Bncil, from Teiani, Prahova, is admitted in 2013 at the hospital in Vleni.
Mom has a condition with her heart, lungs and thyroid. Lady doctor Angelina Moise
recommended the device and the Vitalaire company, I wish she never did! I remember her
name because she is called like my grandaughter. She is from the hospital, from Vleni, the
lady doctor. They told us to go the Insurance House, they filled the forms for us and all, they told
us it will cost us only one leu. From one leu we got to broke!, recalls Maria Soare, the daughter
of the old woman.
Filofteia hears that.
Dont blame the lady doctor, it was the nurse who told me about the machine.
<Grandma, what are you doing with that old thing?>. He told me to go somewhere and
the grandchildren went. He told me you get the machine and pay one leu.
Right behind her, the orthodox calendar is sticked to the wall - the paper Rembrandt of the
houses of Romanian peasants.


Filofteia used the device from Vitalaire from February 6, 2013 to September 2013.
I used the machine as I could. I am used to living alone. I have been a widow for 30 years, my
man was an unskilled worker, she says.
At a certain point the injunction strikes out of the blue!

They told us we have to pay 2,500 lei, tells the daughter, an inhabitant of Teiani as well, the
first village at the north of Vlenii de Munte.
When she opens the forcible execution order she freezes.
She had provided as a guarantee, without the man knowing, the pension certificate of his


The thing is that Vitalaire does not deliver the device without one or two guarantors
undersigning the contract.
This is the policy of the company that has 3,000 lawsuits, out of which they win over 90%. They
state that they have supplied for over 30,000 patients, therefore the percentage of the ones they
executed is not overrated.
The number of trials is one of its kind within the Romanian medical system!

We are worried by our number of trials. We searched the court records and we saw
that the others in the industry have considerably less. We asked even the Health
Insurance House for the reason. They told us that we have more because we really
want to recover our money. Now we are thinking about suing the Health Insurance
Houses as well
Drago Bobu, Vitalaire lawyer

We go back to the wooden house in Teiani. To the table covered with a plastic cloth with
As Filofteia has the minimum social pension, Maria proposes the company to take as guarantee
the pension of her husband, of almost 800 lei per month.
And they come and threaten us they take our house, trembles Maria.
Her face does not perceive the overblown threat. Maybe here, in this tiny community, situated
on cold heights, people take words as they are.

lei is the pension received
by Filofteia B ncil

lei is the pension of the guarantor,
Filofteias son in law


Running out of solutions, Maria appeals to her daughter, the granddaughter of Filofteia.
The young ones put their money together to raise 2,500 lei.
We also did not have all the money and we paid in installments, confesses one of the

Grandma knows only about 500 lei as a forcible execution and still she thought it was
huge. And dad doesnt know we took his pension certificate
Angelica, Filofteias granddaughter
Here is the unexpected advantage of a newspaper!
Newspapers do not get to Teiani.
Neither Filofteia nor her son in law have access to the internet.
We kindly ask the TV stations using the article not to mention names and amounts, as they do
with the big pharma companies when something nasty comes up!


And I said, people, dont you think about that poor man when you take away his pension
certificate?! Where to produce that kind of money from and what should we pay for?! Do you at
least leave us the machine?, recalls Maria.
Nope! The man takes the air tank on his back and hits the road.
Moreover he takes with him all the invoices issued by the company. The whole file.
Now, after the confessions from the inside, we know why.
What are the people to do?
The grandchildren pay for their grandma who used to make them poached eggs in the morning.


Filofteia throws a piece of wood in the cast iron stove. Without heat I cannot breathe.
She sees us out of the low house, breathing with difficulty.
She throws grains to the chicken.
The white cat throws her a look, but it is not her turn to eat.
This soul wont come out, it would be so much easier if the soul came out!, she
complains behind the young steps, like any other annoyed old person.
The wooden house becomes smaller and smaller.
It would be really something else if Vitalaire took it!
They could have put it along with other houses confiscated using the same method, in the
Global Village Museum.


Eufrosina Diaconescu speaks with difficulty in the background.
She has asthma, diabetes and now she also broke her hip, says her sister, Alexandrina
Eufrosina is 76 and she is visibly in pain.
They both live in Pucioasa, Dmbovia.
Alexandrina tells the story. As she has still a little strength left, she is the one acting as a
guarantor for the oxygen equipment Vitalaire has leased to Eufrosina.
The one paying is the Health Insurance House in Dmbovia.
Until when that is no longer big enough, no longer quick enough, no longer good enough,
nobody knows exactly how the payment should be.
The company sues them.
Alexandrina and Eufrosina. Have you ever heard of such beautiful names?


- What did your sister take the equipment for?
- For asthma. Two years ago we went for a consult to lady doctor Bdescu, from the lung
department in Trgovite.
- At the County Hospital in Dmbovia?
- Thats how you call it? The hospital from the large boulevard in Trgovite!
- And what happened?
- We waited for hours in a row on the hallway and then during the consult lady doctor Bdescu
told us a company would call us to give us a machine. That it would not cost a thing as the
money would be paid by the Health Insurance House.
- And?
- A boy called. He came, he left the breathing machine. He asked us to give him something.

- Money?
- Yes, every time we would put some money in his pocket. Then once a month I had to take
Eufrosina to Trgovite, to stay in the hospital, then at the Health Insurance House to get a
paper to send it to the company. But all these trips were really expensive and painful!
- Did you give up?
- How could I give up when my sister needed air?! I went by myself and solved the problem. I
would still spend a lot of money for the transport but at least I did not have to carry her as well.
One month I was not able to go and we received a fine.
- A fine?
- Or how its called, something saying that the company threatening us to take us to court! They
sued us. Because we were late in sending the paper to the Health Insurance House they made
us pay 300 lei. Did you hear? 300 lei and I have a pension of 400 lei.
- Did you pay?
- Yes, what could I do??, we are not the people to go to the tribunal! We paid 50 lei every month
and we covered the whole amount, I kept the receipts.


Then, after paying the debt, Alexandrina and Eufrosina, the latter with her frail voice, say:
Thats it! Enough!.
We told the boy to come and take away the machine, goes on Eufrosina.
The sales agent from Vitalaire comes very quickly.
He is sure of himself: Well now you paid, it is not necessary to take it away. Everything
will be allright.
Having added everything up they believe otherwise.
In their house in Pucioasa, a home that has seen love and betrayal, birth, disease and death,
the two sisters stand side by side and tell the agent: We will not explain anything else. Take
it away now!.
The guy goes away very angry, carrying the tank on his back.
He didnt even say goodbye, says Alexandrina with a smile.


- What did you do afterwards?
- We told also the lady doctor Bdescu: we do not want this company anymore! Then we
managed, we bought a spray with air, Eufrosina uses it when it is necessary, she puffs it a few
time and it is over quickly but we cannot help it.
- And does the spray work?
- Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesnt. Eufrosina was a few times admitted here at the
hospital, because she needed oxygen.
Meanwhile, Eufrosina fell by a silly accident, like old grandmas do when they are not paying
attention and she needs a walking support frame.
Mister doctor Bdescu, the husband of the lady doctor, has a clinic here, in Pucioasa. He has a
walking frame but do you think he would give it to us?.


Vasilichia Nicodim passed away, in Lehliu Gar, at 80.
Her daughter, Maria, works at the local hospital.
She believed this would be a wisdom vaccine in front of Vitalaire.
That she would understand.
Vasilichia had used the oxygen concentrator for two years.
After a while we were informed that we had to pay penalties of 1,375 lei. I went to the
health Insurance House because they are my colleagues. I still do not understand what
happened, what month was missing, because I was careful to always get the decision,
explains Maria, irritated.
When being sued, she lost and she paid.


The estimation Maria makes even now, the one Vasilichia never knew about, is the following.
The woman from Lehliu goes through the documents: 219 lei per month. Thats how much we
had to pay. I do not know what decision from the Health Insurance House was missing. One, or
maybe two? Why? And we got to 1,375 lei, which I was informed about in July 2015. Penalties

of 270 lei, 298 the enforceable title, 867 execution expenses, do you manage to understand

I understand only one thing: your interest, Vitalaire, was to increase my penalties!
Maria Ciuraru, daughter of Vasilichia


Lucian Bentu, manager of Vitalaire, sent yesterday a message to the newspaper.
On his personal behalf, not on behalf of the company.
I have not been aware up to November 20, 2016 of the existence of illegal invoicing. As a result
of your notification I initiated an internal procedure of verifying the invoices, we informed the
mother company and I am waiting for the decisions of my superiors. Regarding the one who
forged the documents I am convinced that justice will do their job.
We will reproduce his letter entirely at the end of this article.
It is easy to see that Bentu does not deny the existence of forged invoices the company used in
court to win.
On the contrary.
He talks about the one forging the documents, which indicates a silent confirmation, a clue
of what they found in the accounting system as they had enough time to search!
Today it is the third day of journalistic investigation.
Filofteia, Eufrosina, Vasilichia. They spoke up.
The mega-corporation Air Liquide Vitalaire keeps quiet.
It looks like the chief have withdrawn his right to speak on behalf of the company, as Bentu
announces he makes a statement on his personal behalf.
Lucian Bentu, the man who according to his own confessions was 10 years ago a do-it-all-man
of the company he started from zero.
He would negotiate, he would make the counting, he would sign the contracts and he would
carry on his back the air tank.

Morning has broken in Teiani.
Lying on the high bed, that hinders the draft, it is really drafty in the old country houses, Filofteia
speaks to someone from beyond: Why do you keep away from me, it is worse for me not
to know?! Tell me, so that i can figure things out!.



Dear Mr. Tolontan,

On November 21, 2016, this article was published:
Therefore please give me the following right of reply on personal behalf:

I would like to point out three things:

1. The person called within the article a co-ordinator who left Vitalaire and decided to speak
who is self-denouncing (in my opinion) for forging the invoices and misleading the patients did
not action following my orders or as a result of the orders I gave. I am convinced that justice will
do their job and the respective person will receive the rightful punishment.
2. The company have been leading, as a general manager since 2012, DOES NOT mislead its
patients or partners. It is legal private business. What i read about in your article are things I
was not aware of and which I did not contribute to.
3. I requested a report from the entitled departments within the company, in order to confirm or
deny the things you presented in your article. I will go into more detail, as follows.
I would not have written this right to reply if the title of the article, as well as many other
ambiguities in the text hadnt been misguiding the public: Our company tricks the sick poor
people in Romania.
The reader assumes that the one making this statement is an employee of the company or even
the manager of this company, meaning me which is false.
An explanation is missing: who is the person making these statements? Who is the coordinator. If this person is still an employee of our company and not a former one I can not
yet call the respective person a criminal as justice will have to settle this so, if the respective
person is still an employee of the company, I request from him/her to make an honourable
resignation and to leave the company.
He/she DOES NOT SHARE the values I am trying to transmit to the employees.
Vitalaire, the company I am running, has contributed to the enhancement of the life quality of
over 35,000 patients! At this moment, we have 8,000 patients who need equipment and 60
employees. I do not know if the patients are rich or poor, we treat the patients with the same
care and consideration. I am not and we are not undergoing an investigation related to the
incomes of the ones requesting our services.
There is no specification in the article although I made a statement about it! about the fact
that there are several companies providing the same services as we do. We do not hold the
monopoly and we do not compel in any way the diseased persons to purchase or rent our
products. And there should have been an explanation that a part of these services are
reimbursed by the Health Insurance House, another part are not.
(I honestly wish they were reimbursed for all the persons, not only for the stage 4 patients, for
certain diseases). The patients buy or rent a product from us. And this is the business! We
deliver oxygen! We do not drag the patients into court to trick them!!!

I do not understand why the journalist investigating this case accepted this answer:
Because this is what we were told to do! Although by contracts we committed ourselves to
send the patients the invoices on a monthly basis, we were trained not to warn them, precisely
for sick people to gather debts. It was only then we would sue them.

He/she did not ask also the common sense questions: who asked you this??? Who trained you
and how???
Dear journalist, I repeat: we treat the patients with the same care and consideration, no matter if
they are rich or poor. For them, oxygen is vital. I have implemented since I took over the
management of the company, a policy to simplify the bureaucracy for renting the equipment.
And I would like to add that there are thousands of patients to whom Vitalaire has not invoiced
part of the services so that we would not cause them problems.
Regarding the large number of trials, I wish to say that a figure not compared to anything may
seem big, small or huge. There are almost 2,500 trials in court, during the last 10 years and
35,000 patients. Is it a lot? It is not a lot? I do not know. But I do know that these people
benefited from our products, lived in less suffering and did not pay the costs for renting the
equipment. The Health Insurance House reimburses this service only if the patient fulfils certain
conditions. In this context, the lawyer of the company appealed to the legal option of going to
court and recovering the debts.
Regarding the statements of the co-ordinator who left Vitalaire and decided to talk:
I want to show you how Vitalaire misleads patients and evades taxes! I am the one who forged
the documents!
I would like to make the following notes: I was not aware up to November 20, 2016 of the
existence of the illegal invoicing. As a result of your notification I initiated an internal procedure
of verifying the invoices, we informed the mother company and I am waiting for the decisions of
my superiors. Regarding the one who forged the documents I am convinced that justice will do
their job
I truly believe that one can make a correct and honest business in Romania. And I do not
believe if we do not talk about a problem, it does not exist.
Sincerely, Lucian Bentu

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